Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Health IT: Slipping on Hill Agenda?

By Mary Agnes Carey, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

March 26, 2007 -- While both parties on Capitol Hill maintain a strong interest in passing a health care information technology bill, other legislative priorities and a lack of funding could delay or prevent action this year, congressional aides said Monday.

Reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), dealing with a scheduled 10 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians, and oversight of the Medicare prescription drug benefit are among the health care issues that will likely dominate this year's legislative agenda according to the aides, who asked not to be identified.

Speakers at a Capitol Hill forum sponsored by Erickson Retirement Communities said matters will be further complicated by differences in past House and Senate approaches to the legislation, such as disagreements over anti-kickback language and the time frame for implementation of new health care billing codes known as ICD-10. There also may be splits over whether to provide federal grants encouraging providers to use "health IT" and how to ensure the privacy of consumers' data.

"I'm not sure how far we're going to get moving towards health IT" this year, one aide said, citing time and money as major obstacles. Another aide added, "We remain optimistic Congress can move health IT legislation this year or next year."

A nationwide poll that Erickson Retirement Communities released as part of the event might sway Congress to take action sooner rather than later. Among its findings, the survey found that 70 percent of those polled favored greater use of electronic medical records and nearly two-thirds incorrectly assume their health care providers have adopted electronic technology. Actual estimates suggest that only 10 percent to 20 percent of health care providers use such technology.

Electronic records house a patient's medical history, including past diagnoses, allergies and medications, allowing providers and patients to easily access the information.

In the Erickson poll, consumers' concerns about health IT included identify theft or fraud (68 percent), unauthorized access by marketers (62 percent) and fears that health insurers and employers would use the data without permission (53 percent and 51 percent respectively).

The poll of 800 registered voters conducted Feb. 9-15 also favored electronic records as a easy way to make medical records available in an emergency (73 percent), help doctors coordinate care to prevent drug interactions (71 percent) and prevent medical errors (54 percent).

Publication Details